Both ki te and kia are used before the second verb in a sentence to indicate a purpose, wish or effect and often translate to mean ‘to’ do something. Ki te and kia are not usually interchangeable. Thus it is important that you learn when to use kia and when to use ki te. How does one know when to use ki te or kia? Following is a brief explanation of when to use kia and ki te coupled with some examples for further clarification of their uses.
When to use kia:
1. If the verb used before or after kia is in the passive.
Kua tonoa te kuia kia karangatia te manuhiri.
The elderly lady was sent to call to the visitors.
(Both verbs are in the passive.)
I tatari rātou kia pōhiritia.
They waited to be welcomed.
(The second verb is in the passive)
2. If the second verb used is a stative verb.
I tatari mātou kia reri te tangata whenua.
We waited until the local people were ready.
(The verb reri is a stative so is preceded by kia.)
3. If the subjects of the two verbs are different.
I pātai mai ia kia haere au.
She asked me to go.
(The person asking and the person going are different.)
Kua whakaae ia kia haere rātou.
She has agreed that they go.
(The person agreeing and the people going are different.)
Now you have seen some examples of when to use kia, here is a brief explanation of when to use ki te followed by some examples to help you.
When to use ki te:
1. For anything else
2. When using ki te the person/people doing both actions is the same
Kua haere rātou ki te horoi i ngā kākahu.
They have gone to wash the clothes.
(The people going and washing are the same.)
Kua tīmata ia ki te ngongoro.
She has started to snore.
(The person beginning and the one snoring is the same.)
The one exception to these rules for kia and ki te is when the word kite (to see, find, discover) is used when kia is preferred for euphony. When kite is used actively, native speakers will usually use kia and not ki te in order to avoid saying ki te kite, but both are acceptable if the criteria for ki te are met. Ki te and kia are not interchangeable, kite being the only exception.
I tae rātou ki te kite i te kīngi o Tonga. They came to see the king of Tonga.
I tae rātou kia kite i te kīngi o Tonga. They came to see the king of Tonga.
For further explanations and examples see Te Kākano p. 98; Te Pukapuka Tātaki p. 56.
Whiriwhirihia te kupu e tika ana.